7 killed, 17 injured in Baghlan mosque suicide blast
KABUL (PAN): An officer was among seven policemen killed, and another 17 people were injured, in a suicide attack in a mosque in northern Baghlan province on Sunday, the first day of Eidul Azha, the Interior Ministry said.
The blast targeted worshippers coming out of a mosque in Hassantal village of Qashlan area at around 9am, the Ministry said in a statement. Among the seven policemen killed when the attacker blew himself up was an officer named Abdul.
A second suicide attacker was shot and killed by police, the statement said. It said initial investigation revealed the Taliban were behind the assault.
A resident of the Baghlan-i-Markazi district, Qudraullah, who lost his two sons in the attack, said nearly 17 people were killed and 30 others injured. In bloodstained clothing, he said his sons Qari Abdul Basir, 17, and Qari Khal Mohammad, 20, had been killed.
He confirmed that the police commander, Abdul had been killed, and said that another commander, Rahmatullah, was also killed along with a number of civilians.
The blast took place when people were exiting the mosque and were waiting to take part in a funeral procession of a villager, the eyewitness said.
A Pajhwok correspondent who visited the scene said the blast occurred at a place where funeral processions are common. All the injured and dead were taken to the Pul-i-Khumri and the district civil hospitals.
The Taliban have claimed responsibility for the suicide attack, with spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid saying the attack targeted a police officer, Abdul Afghan Kash. The suicide bomber who blew himself up was on foot.
The spokesman said Kash was heading toward his guest house when he was attacked. Mujahid said another two police commanders, Baryal and Abdul Rahim, were also killed.
The blast came two days after Taliban leader Mullah Omar urged his fighters to avoid civilian casualties in the decade-long war.
The statement, issued to mark Eidul Adha, warned of punishment under Islamic Sharia law for fighters responsible for civilian deaths.
The United Nations says the number of civilians killed in the Afghan war in the first half of this year rose 15 percent to 1,462, with insurgents behind 80 percent of the deaths.
Previously seen as relatively stable, Baghlan has seen an uptick in militant attacks in recent years.
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